The Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs released their annual reports yesterday. Read the coverage and claims contained therein carefully, with an eye for two key moments of spin: (1) the fiscal news is good and the programs are fine, and (2) Obamacare has improved the outlook for Medicare. Instead, remember this: (3) both programs are fiscal toast and need immediate reforms to continue to provide future seniors with an appropriate safety net.
Companies across the U.S. are meeting health challenges head on by investing in time, talent, and materials. U.S. federal law has long protected these endeavors through the intellectual property (IP) regime. Understanding the process of innovation in both health and medicine requires a basic knowledge of three areas: the legal underpinnings of patent law, the economics of patents, and how the two interact within a company. Today, we cannot forget just how important these laws have been in creating and sustaining the technological sectors, especially those where innovation is especially costly. A basic overview of intellectual property rights (IPR) in innovative industries, particularly in medical treatments, is a beginning point to explore where the regime has gotten things right.
Today, the Medicare Trustees issued their annual report detailing the financial state of America’s entitlement programs. The report echoed past conclusions: Medicare and Social Security are still going bankrupt.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law established state-based health insurance exchanges to provide an individual market for qualified health insurance plans. The state exchanges sell insurance plans to any citizen, regardless of health status. Enrollees who purchase plans through an exchange can receive federal premium subsidies if their household income falls between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. This primer provides an overview of the ACA’s risk mitigation provisions that apply to individual and/or small group market plans: reinsurance, risk corridors, and risk adjustment.
The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. For the moment, there is little suspense regarding the outcome: the Fed will “taper” its purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) by $10 billion, reducing monthly purchases to $25 billion on its way to ending purchases in October.
In a relatively modest week, regulators published $158 million in annualized costs and more than 235,000 associated paperwork burden hours; no regulation monetized possible benefits. However, the week did include notable court proceedings on the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank’s fourth anniversary.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently released a new set of standards for certain trains and tank cars at risk for accidents involving flammable liquids. The agency states that these revised regulations come as a response to recent high-profile accidents.
In their most recent report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the effects of an aging population, increasing health care costs, and the federal subsidies issued under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will contribute to increasing the deficit to $7.6 trillion in the 2015-2024 timeframe.
The daily influx of Central American children is a crisis that is appalling in its character and scale. It demands a focused and swift response; quite simply inaction is not an option. The bad news is that the White House has shifted from indifference to a strategy of stonewalling and playing politics. The good news is that House Republicans yesterday announced a plan to address the growing tragedy.